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170+ Best Idioms for Kids: Meaning and Example

    Idioms for Kids

    The magical realm of language isn’t just reserved for the learned scholars or eloquent orators; it starts its enchantment early on, especially with the youngest of listeners. Idioms, with their colorful imagery and curious phrasings, possess a particular allure, often piquing the interest of children and whisking them away on a journey of imagination. This article, “Idioms for Kids,” is a delightful dive into these quirky expressions, tailored especially for young minds.

    From “spill the beans” to “let the cat out of the bag”, these idioms are not just whimsical words but encapsulate mini stories, teaching children about language’s figurative nature while sparking their imaginative fires. Designed for educators, parents, and inquisitive young readers, this article promises a fun-filled exploration of phrases that might sound strange at first but unfold to reveal amusing and insightful meanings. So, come along as we turn over a new leaf in the captivating book of idiomatic adventures, perfect for young learners!

    Top Idioms for Kids with Meaning and Example


    Introducing children to the colorful world of idioms can be a fun and engaging way to boost their language skills. Idioms, which are phrases with meanings different from the literal interpretations of their words, add flavor to language and can make conversations more interesting and vibrant. While some idioms can be complex, there are plenty that are simple and perfect for kids. Let’s dive into 30 popular idioms suitable for children, complete with meanings and examples.

    1. A Piece of Cake
      • Meaning: Something that is easy to do.
      • Example: “The math test was a piece of cake for Jenny.”
    2. Bite Your Tongue
      • Meaning: To stop oneself from saying something.
      • Example: “When I wanted to reveal the surprise, I had to bite my tongue.”
    3. Break a Leg
      • Meaning: A way to wish someone good luck.
      • Example: “Break a leg at the school play tonight!”
    4. Cry Over Spilt Milk
      • Meaning: Getting upset over something that has already happened.
      • Example: “It’s no use crying over spilt milk; just clean it up.”
    5. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
      • Meaning: Don’t concentrate all your efforts or resources in one area.
      • Example: “I applied to several schools, so I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket.”
    6. Feeling Under the Weather
      • Meaning: Feeling sick.
      • Example: “He’s not coming to the picnic because he’s feeling under the weather.”
    7. Hit the Hay
      • Meaning: Go to bed.
      • Example: “It’s late, so I think I’ll hit the hay.”
    8. Hold Your Horses
      • Meaning: Wait a moment.
      • Example: “Hold your horses! Let me get my shoes on.”
    9. It’s Raining Cats and Dogs
      • Meaning: It’s raining very hard.
      • Example: “Take your umbrella; it’s raining cats and dogs outside!”
    10. Jump for Joy
      • Meaning: To be very happy.
      • Example: “When she saw the puppy, she jumped for joy.”
    11. Keep an Eye on
      • Meaning: Watch or take care of something.
      • Example: “Keep an eye on your brother while I’m in the store.”
    12. Let the Cat Out of the Bag
      • Meaning: Reveal a secret.
      • Example: “Oops, I let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party.”
    13. On Cloud Nine
      • Meaning: Extremely happy.
      • Example: “After winning the prize, he was on cloud nine.”
    14. Over the Moon
      • Meaning: Very happy or delighted.
      • Example: “She was over the moon when she got a bike for her birthday.”
    15. Pull Someone’s Leg
      • Meaning: To joke with someone.
      • Example: “I was just pulling your leg; there’s no spider on your chair.”
    16. Spill the Beans
      • Meaning: To tell a secret.
      • Example: “Don’t spill the beans about the surprise gift.”
    17. Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
      • Meaning: Getting information directly from the most reliable source.
      • Example: “I know we’re having pizza tonight because I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.”
    18. The Ball is in Your Court
      • Meaning: It’s your decision or turn to act.
      • Example: “I’ve done my part, now the ball is in your court.”
    19. Through Thick and Thin
      • Meaning: Staying loyal in both good and bad times.
      • Example: “Best friends stick together through thick and thin.”
    20. Tie the Knot
      • Meaning: To get married.
      • Example: “My sister is tying the knot next summer.”
    21. Two Peas in a Pod
      • Meaning: Two people who are very similar.
      • Example: “Jake and John are like two peas in a pod; they even dress alike.”
    22. When Pigs Fly
      • Meaning: Something that will never happen.
      • Example: “I’ll clean my room without being asked when pigs fly!”
    23. Zip Your Lips
      • Meaning: Be quiet.
      • Example: “Zip your lips during the movie.”
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    List of 155 English Idioms of Kids with Meaning

    Anything Butused to mean the opposite of the stated quality
    call someone namesIf a person, especially a child, calls someone names, they address that person with a name that is intended to be offensive
    be in a class of your ownto be the best at a particular activity
    like a bull in a china shopIf someone is like a bull in a china shop, they are very careless in the way that they move or behave
    A Dime A Dozencommon and not special
    A Fish Out Of Watera person who feels awkward or unhappy because they are in a situation that is not familiar or because they are different from the people around them
    Fly On The WallIf you say that you would like to be a fly on the wall on an occasion, you mean that you would like to hear what will be said or see what will happen while not being noticed
    drop someone/something like a hot potatoto quickly stop being involved with someone or something because you stop liking that person or thing or you think they will cause problems for you
    a little bird told meused to say that you have heard a piece of information about someone from someone else
    make a mountain out of a molehillto make a slight difficulty seem like a serious problem
    rip someone offto cheat someone by making them pay too much money for something
    A Slap On The Wrista small punishment when a more severe punishment is deserved
    a whole new ballgamea completely different situation, often one that is difficult or that you know little about
    Add Fuel To The Fireto make an argument or bad situation worse
    to add insult to injurysaid when you feel that someone has made a bad situation worse by doing something else to upset you
    be all earsto be waiting eagerly to hear about something
    As Cool As A Cucumbervery calm or very calmly, especially when this is surprising
    as easy as pie/ABC/anything/falling off a logextremely easy
    As Keen As Mustardvery eager and interested in everything
    Barking Up The Wrong Treetrying to do something in a way that will not work
    Be A Fly On The WallIf you say that you would like to be a fly on the wall on an occasion, you mean that you would like to hear what will be said or see what will happen while not being noticed
    not be a happy camperto be annoyed about a situation
    A Piece Of Cakesomething that is very easy to do
    Be As Busy As A Beeto be moving about quickly doing many things
    As Clean As A Whistleextremely clean
    be as dead as a doornailto be clearly and obviously dead
    Be Full Of Beansto have a lot of energy and enthusiasm
    be in hot waterto be in or get into a difficult situation in which you are in danger of being criticized or punished
    Be In The BagIf something is in the bag, you are certain to get it or to achieve it
    Be In The Same Boatto be in the same unpleasant situation as other people
    Be Like Two Peas In A Podvery similar, especially in appearance
    of the old schooltraditional and old-fashioned
    Be On The Ballto be quick to understand and react to things
    Be Under The WeatherIf someone is or feels under the weather, he or she does not feel well
    Be Up Onto have an advantage over someone or to have done something that shows you are better than them
    Beat Around The Bushto avoid talking about what is important
    have a bee in your bonnetto keep talking about something again and again because you think it is very important
    bend/lean over backwardto try very hard to do something
    Bite Off More Than You Can Chewto try to do something that is too difficult for you
    Bite The Bulletto force yourself to do something unpleasant or difficult, or to be brave in a difficult situation
    Black And Bluewith dark marks on your skin caused by being hit or having an accident
    blow the whistle on someone/somethingto tell people publicly about something bad that someone is doing
    Born With A Silver Spoon In Mouthto have a high social position and be rich from birth
    Break A Legused for wishing someone good luck, especially before a performance
    Break The Iceto make people who have not met before feel more relaxed with each other
    Butter Someone Upto be very kind or friendly to someone or try to please someone, so that that person will do what you want him or her to do
    Call It A Dayto stop what you are doing because you do not want to do any more or think you have done enough
    Cat Got Your Tonguesomething you say to someone when you are annoyed because they will not speak
    cost someone an arm and a legto be very expensive
    Cream Of The Cropthe best of a group of similar things or people
    Cross Your Fingersto hope that things will happen in the way that you want them to
    Cry Over Spilled Milkto feel sorry or sad about something that has already happened; used to emphasize that this is not helpful
    Cry Wolfto keep asking for help when you do not need it, with the result that people think you do not need help when you really need it
    Curiosity Killed The Catsaid to warn someone not to ask too many questions about something
    Cut Cornersto do something in the easiest, cheapest, or fastest way
    Cut Somebody Some Slackto not judge someone as severely as you usually would because they are having problems at the present time
    cut to the chaseto talk about or deal with the important parts of a subject and not waste time with things that are not important
    Different Kettle Of Fishto be completely different from something or someone else that has been talked about
    Dip Your Toes Into start very carefully to do or become involved in something that you are not experienced at
    Don’T Count Your Chickens Before They Hatchyou should not make plans that depend on something good happening before you know that it has actually happened
    Have A Cowto be very worried, upset, or angry about something
    Down To The Wireuntil the last moment that it is possible to do something
    drag your heels/feetto do something slowly because you do not want to do it
    Draw A Blankto fail to get an answer or a result
    Drop The Ballto make a mistake, especially by not taking action or dealing with something that should have been planned for
    Eat Like A Birdto always eat a small amount of food
    an elephant in the roomIf you say there is an elephant in the room, you mean that there is an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about.
    Every Cloud Has A Silver Liningsaid to emphasize that every difficult or unpleasant situation has some advantage
    Under The WeatherIf someone is or feels under the weather, he or she does not feel well
    fall on deaf earsIf a suggestion or warning falls on deaf ears, no one listens to it
    Fight Like Cats And Dogsto have angry arguments all the time
    be in the blackIf a bank account is in the black, it contains some money, and if a person or business is in the black, he, she, or it has money in the bank and is not in debt.
    For The Birdsbe strictly for the birds
    Get Cold Feetto suddenly become too frightened to do something you had planned to do, especially something important such as getting married
    get off on the right/wrong footto make a successful/unsuccessful start in something
    Get Off Someone’S Backused to tell someone to stop criticizing you
    come/get down off your high horseto stop talking as if you were better or smarter than other people
    get your feet wetto become used to a new situation
    get something out of your systemIf you get something out of your system, you get rid of a wish or emotion, especially a negative one, by allowing yourself to express it
    get up on the wrong side of the bedto be in a bad mood and to be easily annoyed all day
    Get Your Act Togetherto start to organize yourself so that you do things in an effective way
    give someone a shoutto tell someone something
    give someone the benefit of the doubtto believe something good about someone, rather than something bad, when you have the possibility of doing either
    Give Someone The Cold Shoulderto intentionally ignore someone or treat someone in an unfriendly way
    give the green light to somethingto give permission for someone to do something or for something to happen
    go back to the drawing boardto start planning something again because the first plan failed
    Out On A Limbhaving an opinion that is different from most people’s and is unpopular
    Hang In Theresaid as a way of telling someone to not give up, despite difficulties
    Change Of HeartIf you have a change of heart, you change your opinion or the way you feel about something
    have ants in your pantsto not be able to keep still because you are very excited or worried about something
    have butterflies in your stomachto feel very nervous, usually about something you are going to do
    have a/the feelingto think or believe something, usually based on a guess or on your emotions
    Have Someone’S Numberto know a lot about someone and so have an advantage over them
    hit the hay/sackto go to bed in order to sleep
    a hive of activity/industrya place where a lot of people are working very hard
    Hold Your Horsesused to tell someone to stop and consider carefully their decision or opinion about something
    Hot Dogsomething that you say when you are very pleased about something
    the icing on the cakesomething that makes a good situation even better
    In A Nutshellvery briefly, giving only the main points
    In Hot Waterin a difficult situation in which you are likely to be punished
    In The Same Boatin the same difficult situation as someone else
    It’S Not Rocket Scienceused to say that you do not think that something is very difficult to do or to understand
    It’S Raining Cats And Dogssomething that you say when it is raining heavily
    run around with someoneto spend a lot of time with someone
    Kill Two Birds With One Stoneto succeed in achieving two things in a single action
    the final/last strawthe last in a series of unpleasant events that finally makes you feel that you cannot continue to accept a bad situation
    Let The Cat Out Of The Bagto allow a secret to be known, usually without intending to
    Miss The Boatto lose an opportunity to do something by being slow to act
    Monkey Aroundto behave in a silly and annoying way
    At A Snail’S Paceextremely slowly
    Not Be One’S Cup Of TeaIf something is not your cup of tea, it is not the type of thing that you like
    be on cloud nineto be extremely happy and excited
    On The Ballaware of any changes or developments and quick to react to them
    be skating on thin iceto be doing something that is dangerous or involves risks
    tie someone up in knotsto confuse someone and make them unable to explain something clearly
    Out Of The BlueIf something happens out of the blue, it is completely unexpected
    paddle your own canoeIf you describe a person as paddling their own canoe, you mean that they are independent and do not need help from anyone else.
    with flying colorsIf you do something such as pass an exam with flying colors, you do it very successfully.
    Pig Outto eat a lot or too much
    Play It By Earto decide how to deal with a situation as it develops, rather than acting according to plans made earlier
    as pleased as Punchvery pleased
    pull someone’s legto try to persuade someone to believe something that is not true, as a joke
    pull togetherto work hard as a group in order to achieve something
    Rain Cats And Dogsto rain very heavily
    it’s raining cats and dogs!something that you say when it is raining heavily
    Read Between The Linesto try to understand someone’s real feelings or intentions from what they say or write
    Second To Noneas good as or better than all others
    see eye to eyeIf two people see eye to eye, they agree with each other
    Sleep Like A Loginfml to sleep very well, without being woken by any noises
    slip someone’s memory/mindto be forgotten
    a mile a minutevery quickly
    Speak Your Mindto say what you think about something very directly
    Spice Something Upto add excitement or interest to a speech, story, or performance
    Spill The Beansto tell people secret information
    Take A Rain Checkused to tell someone that you cannot accept an invitation now, but would like to do so at a later time
    take someone/somewhere by stormto be suddenly extremely successful in a place or popular with someone
    the ball is in someone’s courtIf the ball is in someone’s court, they have to do something before any progress can be made in a situation
    The Early Bird Gets The Wormthe person who arrives first is the one who is successful
    The Whole Nine Yardseverything you can possibly want, have, or do in a particular situation
    the world is someone’s oysterIf the world is your oyster, you can do what you want or go where you want
    Think On Your Feetto make a quick decision or give an answer quickly
    Think Outside The Boxto think imaginatively using new ideas instead of traditional or expected ideas
    Through Thick And ThinIf you support or stay with someone through thick and thin, you always support or stay with him or her , even if there are problems or difficulties
    To Make A Long Story Shortused when you are explaining what happened in a few words, without giving all the details
    Tongue In CheekIf you say something tongue in cheek, you intend it to be understood as a joke, although you might appear to be serious
    your two cents’ worthyour spoken opinion on a particular matter
    Up In The AirIf a matter is up in the air, it is uncertain, often because other matters have to be decided first
    walk/be on eggshellsto be very careful not to offend or upset someone
    warn someone off somethingto tell someone not to do something because of danger or some other reason
    I’ll/we’ll cross that bridge when I/we come/get to itan expression that means you will not worry about a possible future problem but will deal with it if it happens
    wet your whistleto have an alcoholic drink
    a wolf in sheep’s clothinga person with a pleasant and friendly appearance that hides the fact that they are evil
    You Can Say That Againyou can say that again!
    You Can’T Teach An Old Dog New Trickssaid to mean that it is very difficult to teach someone new skills or to change someone’s habits or character
    Your Guess Is As Good As MineI have no way of knowing exactly what happened or what will happen

    In Conclusion

    Read:  5+ Idioms That Start With V

    In the vibrant tapestry of language, idioms stand out as colorful patches, drawing young minds into the rich world of linguistic creativity. As we’ve journeyed through these delightful expressions tailored for kids, we’ve not only explored their meanings but also ignited the fires of imagination and curiosity. Encouraging children to delve into idioms is akin to giving them a key to a treasure chest of cultural wisdom and storytelling. Here’s to fostering a lifelong love for language in our young learners and celebrating the quirky, fun-filled corners of communication!

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